In 2011, nearly 4 million babies were born in the United States. That may seem like a lot, but the actually number–3,953-593–represents a one percent drop from 2010. When combined with population data, the end result is that 2011 had the lowest birth rate ever recorded in the U.S, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The summary of vital statistics, compiled and authored by the Brady Hamilton, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues at the agency and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, appears online today and in the March issue of Pediatrics. Other important numbers:
- Births to mothers age 15 to 19 continued to decline, down to an historic low of 31.3 births per 1000 women.
- Birth rates also declined for women aged 20 to 29 years.
- Birth rates increased for women aged 35 to 39 and 40 to 44 years.
- The general fertility rate also declined by 1% to 63.2 births per 1000 women, the lowest rate ever reported. The total fertility rate was down by 2% in 2011.
- The percentage of all births to unmarried women declined slightly to 40.7% in 2011, from 40.8% in 2010.
- In 2011, the cesarean delivery rate was unchanged from 2010 at 32.8%.
- The preterm birth rate (babies delivered before 37 weeks) declined for the fifth straight year in 2011 to 11.72%.
- The low birth weight rate declined slightly to 8.10%.
- The infant mortality rate was 6.05 infant deaths per 1000 live births in 2011, which was not significantly lower than the rate of 6.15 deaths in 2010.
- Life expectancy at birth was 78.7 years in 2011, which was unchanged from 2010.
- Crude death rates for children aged 1 to 19 years did not change significantly between 2010 and 2011.
- Unintentional injuries and homicide were the first and second leading causes of death, respectively, in this age group. These 2 causes of death jointly accounted for 47.0% of all deaths of children and adolescents in 2011.
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